The creative writing teacher’s red pen was doing over-time.
“Oh for Heaven’s sake!” she mumbled as she crossed out yet another line. Then she started to read Sam’s summer theme. It began:
ON3 5UMM3R D4Y 1 WA5 ON 7H3 BE4CH O8534V1N6 7WO 61RL5 JUM9IN6 1N 7H3 S4ND 4ND CON57RUC71N6 4 51ND C457L35!
“Fantastic!” she thought to herself smiling. He was obviously trying to provoke a negative reaction. Sam was the class revolutionary, a brilliant writer with talent to sell, secretly one of her favorites. However, how could she correct the theme without falling into the trap he’d set for her she pondered for a while. She read the theme again twice and there it was:
The next day when she passed the themes back to her students, Sam had a smug smile on his face. He knew he’d have an F on his paper, but he was willing to risk a lowering of his overall grade in order to get Ms Murray’s goat.
His eyes nearly popped out of his head when he saw a bright red A – at the top of his page and a note that read:
A lovely story and your choice to write in an alternative version of the English language, in the true spirit of the Dada movement, was appreciated. Please be careful of your spelling in the future – in the first line that should have been 54ND not S4ND!
He looked at the paper several times and couldn’t help admiring how she’d gotten around the trap.
Years past and he became a famous novelist. He had to admit that he’d been a hell raiser and risked throwing his talent away … until Ms Murray’s class. She was always one up on him. Her parting words at the end of the school year had been:
“Sam you’ve got a great talent. True, you’re a grammar criminal but just the same, I hope you never change!”
But Sam was never the same again.
Written for Speakeasy #167
An interesting article about mispelling and reading oddities can be found following this link: